OneMinutesJr workshop in Bishkek - Day 1
by Chris Schuepp
BISHKEK, 24 February 2014 - Only three months after the last workshop in Kyrgyzstan, we are back in the Central Asian country for the first OneMinutesJr workshop in the region in 2014.
20 teenagers from Bishkek, Osh, Jalal-Abad and Karakol have met in the capital to participate in a video workshop on "violence against children". Most of them come from schools where the project "School without violence" is being implemented. But we will try to keep the topic open for other forms of violence as well, so we get a better idea of what is really on the children's minds here in Kyrgyzstan.
At the beginning of every OneMinutesJr workshop we show a compilation of films from around the world, examples of videos produced by other children and teenagers to give the participants an idea of what's possible in a minute. Today we have films from Europe, Asia, Africa and even the Pacific region, but the favourite among the participants turns out to be a film produced by a 14-year-old Kyrgyz girl a few years ago during a workshop in Bishkek. It's a simple and straight-forward film that lives from its emotions and the clear message at the end.
In the afternoon we start discussing initial story ideas with the participants. One by one they present their ideas to the trainers and explain exactly why they have chosen this or that topic. Some are still undecided, others have a general idea but not a concrete story in their head and yet a few others are already very focused and precise on what they want to do.
The challenge for the trainers at this stage of the workshop always is to filter out the most important aspects of a film idea, expose them and work with the participants to turn this into a scenario for a film that lasts exactly one minute. Despite the request to only come up with real life stories, many teenagers tend to write up fictional stories. Experience shows that the more personal the stories are, the closer they are connected to what the children have really experienced or witnessed, the better the films.
Maks (14) from the Issyk-Kul region in the east of Kyrgyzstan tells us a story of a vulnerable boy he knows in his city. The boy works on the local market during the day, goes begging in the afternoon and then spends his money in the evening in a local computer game arcade where he also sleeps due to the lack of a place he can call home.
There are also two stories about children committing or trying to commit suicide after being bullied in school. However, in both cases the bullying at school went hand in hand with neglect at home and the fact that the children were lacking support from all angles.
And action! Day 1 at the OneMinutesJr workshop in Kyrgyzstan in full swing - UNICEF / Chris Schuepp / 2014
There are stories of physical peer-to-peer violence at school, stories about psychological violence but in most cases it is a mix of physical and psychological violence the children describe in their stories.
Despite all negative points raised, there are also film ideas that send out positive signs where teenagers break the vicious circle and help each other to overcome the problems faced. One of the main tasks for the next few days for the trainers and the participants will now be to build on these ideas and create videos that encourage positive change among the young people of Kyrgyzstan.